Coffee at 10 P.M. It’s okay.
It has been quite the boring spring break up in here, but hey, the grass is always greener, right? Next week when I am again a busybody I will wish this were my life again:
Yes, it’s true, my first injury has occurred. Although it’s been only one week and I can walk on it and do most all ordinary household things except walk the dogs and can do a significant variety of exercises, it is not enough for me unless I can do burpees, kickboxing, and run. I want it all.
There is a silver lining, though; I have had an excuse to be a couch potato and become more literate and in touch with pop culture. And create this blog.
Which brings me to recognize that my first post on it should contain some actual content that someone may care about.
First things first (well, second; coffee is always first):
The question I get most often is some variation of “How do you eat?”, “How do you know what to eat?”, or “What should I start eating if I want to lose weight/be healthier?” And, honestly, people know more than they think they know, myself included. Most of us know whether a food is at all healthy before we eat it. But, it is definitely hard at first to learn how to put together a meal based on food group and nutrient density, keeping in mind what one has or hasn’t yet eaten that day.
That being said, I have comprised a list of food rules that I try my utmost to stick to. Although no one is perfect and rules were made for breaking every so often, they are guidelines I do keep in mind and adhere to 85% of the time.
1. Thou shalt make every possible attempt to avoid “white” carbohydrates. These include, but are not limited to: Non 100% whole wheat/whole grain bread (rye is a whole grain, and so are oats/oat flour), white noodles, white rice, kids’ breakfast cereals, white flour tortillas (corn is a whole grain, though, so go for corn tortillas), etc. If the first ingredient is wheat flour (not WHOLE wheat flour) or enriched wheat flour (even “unbleached”), then it is a simple carb and will metabolize as a sugar. Brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat noodles, whole wheat wraps/tortillas, pita pockets, oatmeal, and “old person” breakfast cereals (Grape Nuts, Kashi, Wheaties, Shredded Wheat, Total, Cheerios, Fiber One, Bran Flakes, you get the idea) are the way to go.
2. Thou shalt only eat low-fat dairy, and make a good ole college effort to eat organic dairy, when possible. Cottage cheese, yogurt, milk, and cheese all should be low fat or fat free. An exception is fat free cottage cheese because it contains various processed mystery substances to compensate for the lack of fats, like salt (and tastes horrible). Also, try to get plain Greek yogurt and mix in your own sweetener and/or chopped fruit. The “fruit on the bottom” or flavored yogurt cups are loaded with sugar and syrups. (I like to get the huge tubs of plain yogurt and mix in stevia, cinnamon, berries, and cereal.)
3. Thou shalt give up red meat. Unless it is organic, grass-fed beef (which is hard to come by), it shouldn’t really be in your diet. Okay, never say never. But, once a week, or less. I do not consider pork or ham white meat. But, great alternatives for what red meat is typically used for are: turkey burgers, ground turkey for tacos, chili, and meatloaf, chicken sausage, salmon burgers, and veggie burgers(like Morningstar or black bean burgers). Fish tacos put traditional tacos to shame, anyway. As for cooking methods, try to stick to grilled, blackened, roasted, or broiled, and avoid deep-fried and breaded/battered oven-baked.
4. Thou shalt eat veggies like they are going out of style. Steamed, roasted, and sautéed, but easy on the oil. Have a fruit or veggie (or both) with every meal.
5. Thou shalt eat at least 2-3 servings of fruit per day. Mix it up to reap the most benefits, and make many of those servings berries, plums, or richly-colored. Rinse off apples, pears, and other fruits with edible peels to avoid eating the pesticides. Or, buy organic.
6. Thou shalt avoid sugar. Cereals should have no more than 8 grams, replace traditional jelly with all-fruit preserves, use stevia in coffee and plain yogurt, drink only diet pop(if any), no sweet tea, no flavored instant packets of oatmeal (unless it’s original; go for the huge canisters of plain and mix in your own fruit), and don’t go overboard on ketchup, barbeque sauce, or honey mustard. Honey, real maple syrup, agave nectar, and molasses are acceptable in moderation. BUT, you are better off using real sugar instead of Sweet N’Low, Equal, Splenda, or aspartame. I will make an exception for diet pop over sugary beverages, though, because it is, in my opinion, the lesser of two evils.
7. Thou shalt be skeptical of anything creamy—cream-based soups, mayonnaise, “chipotle” sauce, ranch, thousand island, bleu cheese, creamy honey mustard, horseradish sauce, hollandaise, etc. They are all very high fat. Also, butter is horrible, and so is margarine. Brummel N’ Brown or similar low-fat alternatives are preferable, although they are highly processed.
8. Thou shalt do thy best, and not feel guilty if thou falls off the wagon for one meal a week, or an occasional dessert. Especially dark chocolate. My philosophy is that if you are celebrating something, if you won’t get to eat something you love for quite a long time, or if you have exercised at least five times that week and are stressed to the max, you deserve to be able to choose whether or not to indulge. But, keep portions reasonable and enjoy every bite. Carrot cake should never be passed up, unless it contains no real carrots. And, on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, no guilt is allowed.
*Please keep in mind that I am not a Registered Dietitian, Nutrition Counselor, and have no legitimate nutrition advising credentials. The statements I make are based on what has been effective for me, my own research, and personal opinions. Feel free to let me know if I’m wrong on any point, or if you have anything to add. I’d love to hear what food guidelines you all follow, too!